February 26, 2020 09:53

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Continuing to “catch” enterprises importing scraps with sign of violation

11:02 | 31/03/2019

VCN – The Anti-smuggling and Investigation Department (General Department of Vietnam Customs) has investigated and verified some enterprises importing scraps with signs of violation in order to handle in the due course.

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Plastic scraps which are not eligible to import were discovered and seized by Hai Phong Customs in 8/2018. Photo: Ngọc Linh

Lots of enterprises are in the “field of view”

One of the cases catching a lot of attention from the public recently is related to Trung Thanh export import services trading company limited (Trung Thanh Company – located in Dong Thap).

Trung Thanh company was granted 2 certificates of eligibility for importing scraps No. 2010 on 31/12/2013, No. 2221 on 19/12/2014 and a certificate of eligibility for importing scrap No. 557 on 11/3/2016 by the Department of Natural Resources and Environment of Dong Thap

In particular, certificate No. 2221 expired on 19/12/2015, and the certificate No.557 was signed on 11/3/2016. Thus, during the period from 20/12/2015 to 10/3/2016, Trung Thanh Company was not eligible to import scrap. However, during this time, a Deputy Director of Department of Natural Resources and Environment of Dong Thap still signed a number of documents providing information about shipments of imported scrap in order to use for making dossiers of import scraps for this company.

Regarding this case, on 18/3, through an interview with a Customs News reporter, an official of the Criminal Investigation Unit - Unit 7 (Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department) said: By continuing investigations and verifying violated cases of importing scraps, the unit has identified many violation cases.

For the case of Trung Thanh Company, through the process of investigation and verification, the Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department found that the business had stopped operating since mid-2016.

“The business stopped working led to difficulties in collecting related dossiers and documents. Currently, the Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department is cooperating with the competent authorities to continue verifying this case "- the information source said.

The scraps are still hot

With the policy of strict control of many of the world's largest scrap exporters, the risk of violations related to scrap imports in Vietnam is forecasted to continue to be complicated.

According to the Customs Control and Supervision Department (General Department of Vietnam Customs), from 1/1/2019, China continued by adding 8 categories of scrap to the list of banned imports (increased from 24 types in 2018 to 32 types).

Notably Malaysia, which was at the top of the list of importing plastic scrap in the world, has cut most of its list of permitted scrap imports since 2019.

Due to the import prohibition policy of surrounding countries at the top of scrap imports, the Customs Control and Supervision Department made a forecast about the trend in 2019, that scrap will continue to move strongly into Vietnam, increasing the amount of imported scrap, and the possibility of smuggling via road is higher.

In fact, in the last months of 2017 and the first 6 months of 2018, when China issued a policy to prohibit the import of 24 types of scrap, including many kinds of plastic scraps which have a high risk of causing environmental pollution, the amount of plastic scrap imported into Vietnam increased dramatically. Only in the first 6 months of 2018, Vietnam imported 274.7 thousand tons of plastic scrap, an increase of more than 200% compared to the same period in 2017, and by more than 70% of the total import volume of 2017.

The situation was only improved from July 2018, when the General Department of Vietnam Customs directed their units to strengthen inspection and control. By carrying out physical inspections of imported scrap, the amount of plastic scrap imported to Vietnam then decreased markedly. In the last 6 months of 2018, the total amount of plastic scrap imported to Vietnam was only 107.1 thousand tons, went down by more than 250% compared to the first 6 months of 2018.

In recent times, especially in 2018, Customs authorities have chaired meetings for implementing detection and prosecutions for many violation cases related to importing scrap.

On the other hand, according to the Customs Control and Supervision Department, through the evaluation of economic and environmental organizations in the world, it showed that in 2017, Vietnam was the world's fourth largest market for importing plastic scraps (after China, Hong Kong and Malaysia). However, in 2018, after China banned the import of 24 types of scrap, the amount of plastic scrap imported into China and Hong Kong has fallen by more than 90% compared to 2017, while Vietnam suddenly became the 2nd largest market in the list of the largest plastic scrap importers in the world after Malaysia.

Dealing with the situation in the past time and the forecast as mentioned above, the General Department of Vietnam Customs has proactively implemented management measures. Thereby, quickly facilitating enterprises that have demand and meet the import conditions, for processing cargo clearance in order to serve for production activities. At the same time, enabling timely detection and strictly controlling and handling violations.

For the Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department, besides focusing on verifying and handling violations, currently, under the direction of the Ministry of Finance and the General Department of Vietnam Customs, the unit is focusing on building interdisciplinary coordination regulations on import management of scrap for submitting to the Prime Minister for issuance.

By Thái Bình/Thanh Thuy